Spelling Bee

A simple beehive
containing seven letters,
with the center one a necessity.

How many words can I create?

The New York Times
offers the perfect challenge
for a puzzler
like me.

But many a night,
I stay up way past bedtime
to discover enough words
to crown me a genius.

If only life
were like the Spelling Bee…
my genius would shine through
any situation
if only I could find
the right combination
of words

*inspired by a mentor text (Six Minutes, Twenty-six Seconds) in Linda Rief’s wonderful The Quickwrite Handbook.

No Snow

Daffodils raise their lemon yellow heads
to bask in the sun.
Cherry blossoms awaken
ahead of schedule.

But where was the snow?

No buds had to push up through
a winter blanket
or fend off icicles
hanging on branches.

No snow days,
school delays,
or winter wonderland walks.

Don’t get me wrong…
spring is my favorite season.

the joy of blooming days
is not quite as sweet
without the memory
of snow-kissed winter nights.

Baby Chick

In first grade,
my teacher brought in
an incubator with seven eggs.

Should any of the eggs
the first students to bring in
permission slips
got to take home
a real, live bird.

We watched
and waited,
and waited.

one egg cracked.
another egg splintered.

One fluffy yellow chick
the color of butter
A downy white chick

Nina Miller and I
were first
with signed slips.

a few short days later
the sweet yellow fledgling
came home to roost.

My startled father
held his tongue
as my wild, generous mother
build a cozy, warm
nesting box.

What a lucky child
was I!

Think Time

Today I had the chance
to be a student again.

The afternoon’s
professional development
a topic of interest,
and the instructor
plotted an engaging lesson.

I walked in confident,
but walked out uncertain.

My table group
missed a direction,
fell behind,
and never truly caught up.
The 45 minute session
dictated a rapid pace.

Did we spend too long
on the first discussion question?
The conversation was interesting
and not nearly long enough.

The idea sort was terrific
but we left a critical piece
in the envelope
so struggled to make sense.

We, strong students all,
live in a world
that packs too much
into too little

My most valuable lesson today:
slow it down,
check often,
and offer grace.

It’s Tough Being a Student

On any given school day,
my students arrive with
the first rays of sun.

Bleary-eyed and sleep starved
but open to the day,
these teens shuffle
to lockers.

The day may start with math,
world geography,
notes on a piano
or words in an essay.
Regardless of the class,
promise still shimmers
at the edges.

By the last class,
brains arrived stuffed
egos a bit bruised
my students
still arrive
with kind smiles
and willing hearts.
They amaze me.


Running late,
I hurry out the door,
two small dogs in tow.

has not loosened its grip,
so I bundle up against the dark & cold.

Almost immediately,
a low grumble
escapes Georgia’s mouth
as she spies something ahead
I cannot yet see.
When her brother joins in,
a flash of pale tan fur
emerges from a house’s shadow —
a deer,
munching on grass and flowers.

my noisy duo scares not one,
not two…
but six deer
out of the neighbor’s yard.

The small herd
stops momentarily –
just ahead of us –
to look our way.

My troop watches
as each deer passes
below the bright spot
of the corner street lamp.

the world seems bigger,
less ordinary.
The day ahead
holds a new kind
of promise.